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McCarthy Makes Wrong Decision on Non-Challenge of Quarless Catch

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McCarthy Makes Wrong Decision on Non-Challenge of Quarless Catch

At least two replay angles show that Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy should have challenged a second quarter play in which Andrew Quarless was deemed to have juggled a sideline catch from backup quarterback Seneca Wallace.

On the play in question, Wallace eluded pressure on 3rd-and-11 and connected with Quarless along the Bears' sidelines, roughly around the Chicago 25-yard line. After originally ruling a catch, the nearest official waved off the reception because Quarless momentarily juggled the pass before falling out of bounds.

Replay clearly shows that Quarless did bobble the reception attempt. But replay is just as clear that the Packers tight end regained possession of the football with two feet clearly in bounds and his knee still off the ground.

Here are two screenshots that appear to conclusively show Quarless made the catch. Both come after the original bobble:

On the television broadcast, McCarthy can be seen looking up at a replay of the sequence. Mike Tirico, ESPN's play-by-play announcer, makes it clear that the replay shown at Lambeau Field was the identical angle as the first screen shot provided above.

Instead of throwing his red challenge flag, McCarthy sent out the punting team on fourth down. This was the wrong decision.

There were just four minutes and 25 seconds left in the first half, and Green Bay still possessed all three of its timeouts. An overturn of the incomplete call would have provided the Packers with 1st-and-10 at the Chicago 25-yard line, giving Wallace three more downs to work with and putting Green Bay well within Mason Crosby's field goal range.

Of course, McCarthy received just one look at the play in real-time. We are given the opportunity to look at several angles over many replays and make a decision. Still, there was more to gain from a challenge than lose, and McCarthy is paid big money to be right on these kind of calls.

Tim Masthay's ensuing punt pinned Chicago at the 1-yard line, but the Bears drove 93 yards over 12 plays and 4:16 to set up Robbie Gould's 24-yard field goal as the first half clock expired. The Packers trailed at the half, 17-10.

There's no guarantee that the Packers would have drove the remaining 25 yards and scored a touchdown, or that Crosby would have made a kick given the chance. But McCarthy's decision to not challenge a very questionable ruling cost his team an opportunity to score points on a night in which his backup quarterback was struggling.

Zach Kruse is a 25-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covered prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (27) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Morgan Mundane's picture

MM is myopic. He can only focus on one thing at a time. He will run lacy lacy lacy not thinking, gee he could use a rest lets send in Starks. Its like a deer in the headlights.

He was so focused on what to do when Rogers went down and what plays to call for Seneca he lost focus of the game. His strategy was the next play, not game management.

Evan's picture

As you said, he had 3 timeouts - no excuse not to take all the time necessary to make the right decision.

Evan's picture

Off-topic, but something I haven't discussed yet - the surprise onside kick.

Once Masthay took over kick-off duties, I lamented the end of Crosby's onside kicks - at least the surprise ones.

Did the Bears simply not notice that Crosby came out to kick instead of Masthay?

Bearmeat's picture

Masthay lost his kickoff duties to Crosby full time - starting after Patterson's TD return at the beginning of the Vikings game.

Gotta hand it to Crosby. He's been really good this year.

Evan's picture

Seriously?? Crosby kicked off the entire Bears game?

Beep's picture

And all but the first two kicks of the Vikings game.

Evan's picture

Wow...nevermind. Please carry on.

I need to start paying more attention I guess.

Point Packer's picture

No shit, I actually called the on-side about 10 seconds before it happened. Freaked my friends/wife out.

It just seemed like the right time to do it and generally when MM has done it in the past - right after a score, when the opposing team least expects, when your offense needed the aid of field position etc.

I thought it was a great call and a great execution by Crosby, Hyde, Lattimore and Co.

Speaking of which, all Hyde and Lattimore do is make plays. Hats off to both of them Great young talents.

UP-Packer's picture

What I find to be disturbing is that none of the 'vaunted' assistant coaches even approached Mac about throwing the red flag. Seems like he could use another set of eyes to make some of these decisions.

Must be fun. Assistant coaches who don't assist.

Longshanks's picture

I got a tongue lashing by Mr. Nagler after the game about this play but MM should have challenged and to me was the difference in the game. I don't get McCarthy sometimes. I said it as a joke but his wife could have called him on their cellcom phones and told him to challenge it in time. Pissed me off!! It was a good gamble and MM wasted it.


RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree with you that it was the defining play of the game. That was definitely a point in the game in which they could have changed the course of the game.
They 'should' have won the challenge, and if so they would have had the ball at the 25 yard line. If they didn't gain another yard they would have had roughly a 42 yard field goal try? With Crosby kicking like he is right now he would have made it.

That is a huge swing in the game. They could have went into half time down by 1 point or possibly up by 3.

When I was watching the play live I was screaming for McCarthy to throw the flag.

I think the Rodgers injury made him go ultra conservative and it hurt them.

KennyPayne's picture

Careful Zach, while I appreciate your truth-telling, among the Wisconsin press and green and gold kool aid drinkers pointing out MM/TT's fallibility is akin to professional suicide.

UP-Packer's picture

It's only been that way because GB has been winning consistently. Even the kool-aid drinkers will turn if the Pack start to lose too many.

KennyPayne's picture

The FACT that not a single member of the Wisconsin "PRESS" bothered to ask McCarthy about his non-challenge of the Quarless catch tells you all you need to know about these lapdogs.

Brando's picture

Or the fact that the bigger story was Rodgers injury status. The aren't typically going to focus on one play when you have a potentially season altering event happen.

KennyPayne's picture

No one said they needed to focus upon Rodgers. In fact, McCarthy Monday night was agitated about questions concerning the injury.

However, the day after at his presser he explained his version of the injury and its effects.

Could not one journalist ask a question about a play that occurred during the game?

T's picture

It's easy to be critical in hindsight. As noted he only got one look at it and it was in real time. Sure, he had all three time outs, but there is no guarantee that the ref will deem the evidence conclusive, and if that were the case then suddenly the Packers are down a challenge without knowing how many they might have needed in the second half. Teams do scouting reports on ref crews as well, so McCarthy probably had a pretty good idea of how likely this crew would be to overturn such a close call.

Rather than complaining about McCarthy, complain about the the defense. Had they tackled someone the game could have turned out much differently given how Lacy was running. Instead, the D got torched by a back up QB.

Timbo's picture

Well said. We've all got the benefit of hindsight; McCarthy had to make the decision in the moment. His non-challenge didn't bother me a bit. The D couldn't stop the Bears. That's why the Pack lost.

QOTSA1's picture

Still mad McCarthy did not challenge thi. I don't see what he had to lose by challenging the call.

I'm not sure it would of changed the outcome, but it really seems like a missed opportunity.

JJB's picture

Crosby should make the pro bowl this year. Man what a turn around

Mojo's picture

Just based on MM's history I was very surprised he didn't challenge there. As I was watching in real-time I was fulling expecting him to throw the flag, especially since it seemed it took forever before the Packers ran the next play. I know we have the advantage of hindsight, but, once again, in real-time I was hoping he would throw the flag, because I thought we'd win the challenge.

MM, I believe, generally has an aggressive go-for-it personality(which I like). Even if MM didn't have a great look, there was enough ambiguity and importance to the play to warrant the red-flag. Plus he had all three TO's. If he lost one - not that big a deal.

It was very strange to see him holster the flag on that play. Now let's hope he doesn't try to overcompensate by throwing one when he shouldn't.

denniseckersley's picture

This was also probably Wallace's best play of the night. Would have been huge for his confidence. Reallllly disappointing from McCarthy.

Jyros's picture

The play should have been challenged! MM gets all 'pouty and pig-headed sometimes. Not challenging the call was deflating.
In the end... It was a only a 7 point game and reversing the call on that play would have and could have....

Calabasa's picture

He should have challenged, not because of the evidence but mainly due to the situation. 3 timeouts left, possible first down, difficulty on offense with a new QB... That's what bums me out. Should be automatic if the play is close enough.

Bob's picture

I would have challenged it! God's speed to Aaron Rodgers and JMike! I'll be at the "Mecca" this Sunday watching Seneca and My man Eddie Lacy lead us to 6-3. Go Pack!

Guernsey Boy's picture

What about Quarless? His bobble caused the McCarthy decision. Sure, he may have caught it (apparently), but not clean enough for an easy call by the refs. Downing the ball on the one yd line made the decison palatible. Pick any monent you want to define the game. Or Pick a bad tackle by Hayward aon third down that lead to the Bears making it on fourth and inches on their last drive.

BrandNewOne's picture

I was at the game. Entire crowd saw the replay on the big screen and was yelling for him to throw it. I just don't get it. Yes, he shouldn't have bobbled it. But like some others said, this would have gotten Seneca's confidence going and who knows what would have happened from there on out. I'm still baffled. This replay show more conclusively than either of the two challenge flags he threw yesterday against the Eagles.

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